Lip implants are a cosmetic procedure used to improve the fullness and plumpness of the lips.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 30,000 people received lip augmentation in 2018, with that number steadily increasing each year since the early 2000s.

In this article, we’ll explore what the lip implant procedure is like, how to find a surgeon, and the pros and cons of lip implants compared to other nonsurgical procedures.

Lip implants are a type of permanent lip augmentation that uses plastic implants to plump the lips. Two types of implants can be used:

  • silicone
  • expanded polytetrafluoroethylene

While both types of implants are safe, a 2002 animal study found the expanded polytetrafluoroethylene to be more favorable in terms of tissue response. This implant is also softer and easier to compress than the silicone option, which means it may feel more natural and less noticeable in the lip.

In addition to plastic lip implants, two other types of implant procedures can be performed:

  • Tissue grafting: uses an implant of skin from the lower stomach area to fill the lip
  • Fat grafting: uses fat that has been transferred from the abdomen to fill the lip

Lip implants are a great long-term augmentation option for anyone who:

  • has relatively symmetrical lips
  • has enough lip tissue to stretch over and hide the implant
  • has an aversion to frequent procedures
  • prefers a permanent lip augmentation solution
  • prefers to save money over the long term

If you feel that you’re a good candidate for lip implants, you’ll first need to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

This consultation will help the surgeon determine if you’re a good lip implant candidate. If you are, the surgeon will then measure you for implants, give you information on what to expect for the procedure, and schedule the surgery.

Once you’ve scheduled your lip implant surgery, you’ll need to prepare.

Surgery prep

If you smoke or take blood thinners, you’ll be asked to stop doing so before the surgery. If you have oral herpes, you may also be asked to take antiviral medications.

Surgical steps

Lip implants are an in-office procedure. Your surgeon will first sterilize the area and use a local anesthetic to numb the lips. While lip implantation can be performed under general anesthesia, it isn’t required.

After sterilization and anesthesia, your doctor will take the following steps to insert your implants:

  1. An incision will be made on either corner of mouth.
  2. A clamp is inserted into the incisions and a pocket (or tunnel) is created.
  3. Once the tunnel has been created, the clamp will open, and the implant will be inserted.
  4. The clamp is removed, the implant remains inside of the lip, and the incision is closed with small sutures.

If there are no complications, the entire surgery takes roughly 30 minutes, and you can drive home afterward.


The recovery time for lip implantation is usually 1 to 3 days.

However, for 7 to 14 days following the surgery, your surgeon will recommend that you avoid any kind of pressure or pulling around the lip area. This includes opening your mouth too wide and compressing your lips too much, as the implants can shift out of place.

It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the tissue to begin scarring and holding the implant in place.

In some cases, pain medication can be taken as necessary. Ice packs and head elevation can also help to minimize swelling and scarring after recovery.

Lip implants are generally safe, but as with any cosmetic surgery, there are some risks. These may include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • allergy to the anesthetic (lidocaine) or implant

After the surgery, the risk of side effects is usually minimal, and you should be able to fully resume normal activities after recovery.

In some cases, your lip implant may shift or move. If this happens, another surgery may be required to repair the implant.

Lip implants are a long-term augmentation option, and many people see great results with them. However, not everyone is happy with the way their lips look after surgery. If you’re not happy with your lip implants, surgery will be required to remove them.

Lip implantation is a cosmetic procedure. That means it’s not covered by medical insurance. The average cost of this procedure ranges anywhere from $2,000 to $4,00. While more costly up front, lip implants will last for a much longer time than other lip augmentation procedures.

Below is a chart that compares the price range and longevity of lip implantation, tissue grafting, fat grafting, and lip fillers:

lip implantation $2,000–$4,000 long term
tissue grafting $3,000–$6,000 <5 years
fat grafting $3,000–$6,000 <5 years
lip fillers $600–$800 6–8 months

Lip implantation surgery requires a highly skilled board-certified plastic surgeon. When searching for a plastic surgeon to perform your procedure, look for one who:

  • has experience in the field of lip augmentation
  • has before-and-after photos available for viewing
  • has performed an in-depth consultation for your lip implants
  • has great follow-up etiquette to ensure that you’re recovering

If you’re interested in lip implants, you can use the American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s Find a Surgeon Tool tool to find board-certified plastic surgeons near you.

If you’re interested in a more temporary lip augmentation option, lip fillers may be right for you.

Lip fillers are solutions injected directly into the lips to plump and fill them. There are various options when it comes to lip fillers, including Juvederm, Restylane, and more.

When it comes to longevity, price, and risk, there are pros and cons to both lip implants and lip fillers. Reviewing your options can help you narrow down what type of lip augmentation is best for you.

Pros & consLip implantsLip fillers
Pros• long-term, permanent option
• saves money over time
• relatively safe procedure with minimal long-term risks
• more affordable option upfront
• not as long-term as lip implants
• quick recovery with minimal risks
Cons• potential cosmetic surgery risks
• more expensive upfront
• longer recovery time
• removal requires additional surgery
• needs to be done more frequently
• costs can add up long term
• possible long-term side effects, if filler injected into a blood vessel

Lip implants are a great cosmetic surgery option for anyone who’s interested in long-term lip augmentation.

The average cost of lip implants from a board-certified plastic surgeon ranges from $2,000 to $4,000. The surgery is performed in-office under local anesthesia, and the recovery takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days.

Lip implantation is generally a safe procedure, but as with any cosmetic surgery, there are risks.

If you’re interested in lip implants, reach out to a board-certified plastic surgeon near you for a consultation.